Chemicals that can harm Native Bees
-Methylated spirits and/or pure alcohol
The most commonly used insecticides are the organochlorines, organophosphates, pyrethroids and carbamates
There are so many other natural ways to treat pests without the use of chemicals and ensure change in the future generations way of thinking. I am always learning new things from gardening books, tv shows and seasoned gardeners.
A plants best defense against pests is access to nutrients..a healthy plant can ward off pests, a sun hardened plant can also do the same.
Organochlorines – most organochlorines are very persistent, with half lives of
several years in the environment. They also accumulate in animal fat.
Consequently the majority are banned from use in agriculture, e.g. DDT,
Dieldrin, Endrin, Chlordane. However, endosulfan is still in use. Its relatively
low toxicity to bees and wide spectrum of pests affected makes it an important
tool during pollination by bees. This chemical has been reduced to permit use
Organophosphates – there are a wide variety of these used in agriculture.
Unlike organochlorines they persist only for a few days and do not accumulate
in body fat. Organophosphates usually kill insects on contact but some are
absorbed into the plant and travel through the sap-stream to give systemic
action against sap feeding insects. Their toxicity to bees ranges from very high
Examples: dimethoate (Rogor®), chlorpyrifos (Lorsban®),
methamidophos (Nitofo®), methadithion (Supracide®), monocrotophos
Carbamates – like organophosphates these are short lived (a few days) and do
not accumulate in body fat. Their toxicity to bees ranges from very high to very
Examples: methomyl (Lannate®), carbaryl (Carbaryl®), pirimicarb
Pyrethroids – these are synthetic insecticides with chemical structures related
to the plant pyrethrin. Most household insect sprays contain pyrethroids of
types with low mammalian toxicity. Generally pyrethroids are very toxic to
bees but they repel bees so that the effective toxicity in the field is low.
Examples: cypermethrin (Ripcord®), permethrin (Ambush®), deltamethrin
The new chemicals in agriculture/horticulture - they are Neonicotinoids (brain toxins and highly systemic) and Phenylpyrazole which includes fipronil is also highly systemic with a 28 day knockdown by contact.
We do not know a lot about them but they do differ from the above chemical groups because they become systemic in the plant and can be detected in pollen and nectar throughout the flowering period. The residual period is very long, some 1600 days, and can stay in the soil for years.
Insecticide sprays to avoid using in the garden:
- Surface insect sprays, Aerogard, Rid, Mortein
- Flying insect sprays, Moretein, RAID, Hovex
- Insect bombs, flea bombs, cockroach bombs
anything containing Piperonyl Butoxide
practically non-toxic to bees by itself. However, PBO is often combined with insecticides that are toxic to bees
very toxic for bees and they stay on plants for a period of time after spraying
Insecticides use in your garden around native bee hives is a HUGE NO NO.
SPRAY DRIFT IS THE MOST COMMON reason for beehive deaths from insecticide and pesticide use
even spraying plants runs a risk that your bees may land on that flower or plant (foragers & roosting males) and die.
Insecticidal dusts to avoid using in the garden: